Yale To Celebrate Black History Month with Music, Drama, Talks

A concert of gospel music by the renowned Salt & Pepper Gospel Singers will kick off campus events being held during February in celebration of Black History Month. Other events being offered as part of the celebration include a dramatic reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech, play and poetry readings, lectures, informal talks and a photographic exhibit.

Yale University Art Gallery

The Yale University Art Gallery will launch Black History Month with a concert by the Salt & Pepper Gospel Singers on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m. in its lecture hall. The free, public performance, under the direction of Ronald Pollard, is designed for a family audience.

The 40-member, New Haven-based Salt & Pepper Gospel Singers, founded in 1985, is both interracial and interdenominational. The choir has appeared at hundreds of venues, from prisons and soup kitchens to Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1992 the group was the subject of a documentary film, “Not Just Good Time Sunday,” which was shown at the Cannes and Denver film festivals and is in the permanent collection of the film archives of the Museum of Modern Art.

Other gallery events include the following.

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 27 – A selection of Haitian paintings will be on view in the teaching galleries through May 17. “From Tropical Africa to Black America” features works from the gallery’s Selden Rodman Collection of Popular Arts as well as loans from his private collection and that of Walter and Molly Bareiss. The small exhibition accompanies a course given by Robert Farris Thompson, the Col. John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art.

Saturday, Feb. 14 – “Three African American Artists: Henry Ossawa Tanner, Robert Colescott and Kara Walker,” a lecture about three black artists whose work is in the gallery’s permanent collection, will be presented at 3 p.m. by Judith Wilson, assistant professor of the history of art and African and African-American studies, in the gallery’s education room. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.

The Yale University Art Gallery is located on the corner of Chapel and York streets. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-6 p.m. For general information, call 432-0600. A museum entrance for persons using wheelchairs is located at 201 York St.; for further information about access, call 432-0606.

University Library

“Wake The Dream!” is the theme of a series of brown-bag lunch events being hosted by the Training and Staff Development Office of the University Library. All of the events, which are open to Yale employees, take place in the lecture hall of Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High St.

Wednesday, Feb. 4 – Ed Blunt, a student at the School of Drama, will give a dramatic reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “I Have a Dream.” His reading will be followed by remarks by the Reverend Louise Higginbotham, pastor of United Church on the Green, and the Reverend John Henry Scott, pastor of the Dixwell Avenue Church of Christ. An informal discussion regarding the lessons of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech will follow.

Tuesday, Feb. 10 – “They Were Pure of Heart,” a photographic slide collection of images of an African-American soldier and his family, 1880-1940, will be shown 12:30-2 p.m. by Anthony L. Powell, curator of the exhibit “Portraits in Black: The Buffalo Soldier” and a former historical consultant to “Roots” author Alex Haley. The exhibit, currently on national tour, is the largest privately held collection of memorabilia and photographs of African-American soldiers in this country. Powell’s slide presentation is part of his lecture series on the Buffalo soldier titled “Through My Grandfather’s Eyes: Ties that Bind.” Powell’s grandfather, First Sergeant Samuel Waller, served as a soldier and photographer with the United States Army from the mid-1880s until his retirement in 1927. Waller participated in the charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War in 1898. He died in 1979 at age 105.

Wednesday, Feb. 18 – A concert of gospel music by the Salt & Pepper Gospel Singers will take place 4:30-5:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the library’s Managerial and Professional Staff Association.

At the end of the month, the Yale musical group Shades is scheduled to perform, the date and time to be announced.

For further information on library events in conjunction with Black History Month, visit the library’s “Wake the Dream!” web site at http://www.library.yale.edu/job/dream/htm or contact Kate Reynolds at 432-1810.

Afro-American Cultural Center

The theme of this year’s Black History Month Celebration at the Afro-American Cultural Center (AACC) is “Elimu, Imani Na Umoja” (Education, Faith and Unity). All of the events listed below take place at the AACC, 211 Park St., unless otherwise indicated. All are free and open to the public.

Saturday, Feb. 7 – An evening of entertainment featuring the musical group Women of the Calabash at 7 p.m. Tyrone Philipera ‘00 will open the event with a performance on steel drums. A photographic exhibit by Merle Davis will also be on view.

Sunday, Feb. 8 – Men’s Day at the Black Church at Yale, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 10 – Dr. James P. Comer, the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry and associate dean of the School of Medicine, will talk at 7:30 p.m. Comer is the creator of the School Development Program (also known as the “Comer Process”), which promotes the collaboration of parents, educators and the community in order to improve children’s social and emotional skills so they can, in turn, achieve greater school success. The concept has been adopted in more than 650 schools in 28 states and in Washington, D.C. Comer is also author of the recent book “Waiting for a Miracle: Why Schools Can’t Solve Our Problems – And We Can.”

Monday, Feb. 16 – A “Femininitea” at 4 p.m. will feature an informal talk on the topic “The Balancing Act: Career and Family in the New Century” by Christine Hickman ‘71, a former family law judge who is now professor of law at California Western School of Law in San Diego. Location to be announced. At 7 p.m., Hickman will lecture on “The Devil and the One-Drop Rule: Racial Categories, African-Americans and the U.S. Census” at 7 p.m. at the AACC.

Sunday, Feb. 22 – Women’s Day at the Black Church at Yale, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 24 – Noted African-American studies scholar Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates will present the Chubb Fellowship Lecture on the “The Black-Jewish Relationship” at 4 p.m. in the Law School’s Levinson Auditorium, 127 Wall St. A reception will be held at 8:30 p.m. at the AACC. Gates is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University. The Chubb Fellowship Lecture is sponsored by Timothy Dwight College. For further information on events at the AACC, call 432-4131.

Peabody Museum of Natural History

Saturday, Feb. 7 – “Archaeology at New York’s African Burial Ground Project and Its Implications for African Cemeteries in Connecticut,” a talk by Warren Perry, associate director of archaeology for the African Burial Ground Project and assistant professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, at 1:30 p.m. at the Peabody Museum, 170 Whitney Ave. Perry will discuss his research at the site, which served as the burial ground for African captives, Native Americans and members of various ethnic groups. The author of the forthcoming book “The Archaeology of Colonial Impact in Southern Africa, 1500-1900,” Perry’s research interests include African archaeology and history, African-American archaeology and history, African diaspora studies and oral traditions.

Saturday, Feb. 28 – Local artist Colleen Coleman, who is also the youth program director at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, will lead a demonstration/workshop in making bark cloth, a traditional textile found in various cultures and represented in the Peabody Museum’s current exhibit “Spirit Images: The Lidz Collection of Southwest Pacific Art.”

Yale Cabaret

During the month of February, the Yale Cabaret will present “New Voices,” a series of readings of works by African-American playwrights. The readings will take place each Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Yale Cabaret, 217 Park St. A discussion will follow the readings, which are free and open to the public. The playwrights being featured are Alva Rogers, Jake-Ann Jones and Yale School of Drama student Magaly Colimon. For further information, call 432-1566.

Divinity School

The Black Seminarians and the Yale Committee on Social Ministry are sponsoring several events in honor of Black History Month. All of the following events take place on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the common room of the Divinity School, 409 Prospect St., unless otherwise indicated. All are free and open to the public.

Feb. 5 – A screening of a documentary film on the Amistad affair; Feb. 12 – An evening of African-American poetry and storytelling; Feb. 19 – A performance by the Yale Gospel Choir and a memorial service commemorating the struggle of African-Americans in the United States. Location to be announced; and Feb. 26 – A dialogue on issues of race.

For further information on these events, call Demetrius Semien at 436-3636 or Amanda Miller at 752-1170.

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